North Carolina murder details emerge after UNH lecturer's suicide in Florida
DURHAM — New details in the apparent suicide death of a University of New Hampshire lecturer wanted in connection with a murder in North Carolina began to emerge on Sunday.
Eric Paul Engel, 43, allegedly shot and killed former family friend Aleksander "Lenny" Wysocki, 74, in Cary, N.C. , on Friday, according to Cary police.
Authorities believe Engel then went to Dunellon, Fla., where he killed himself inside a motel. Police are awaiting an autopsy, due to be performed this week, to confirm his identity.
"At this point, we feel confident that there is an end to the Wysocki tragedy," said Criminal Investigations Division Capt. Don Hamilton. "As we said earlier, we did not believe this was a random act, and based on evidence we cannot disclose at this point, we are confident Engel is the man who shot Wysocki."
Cary police said Wysocki was killed at 8:45 a.m. Friday at 215 Trent Woods Way. He was transported to Duke University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Cary police had obtained an arrest warrant for Engel in connection with the death. Officials said Engel was a former family friend of the victim.
Cary police tracked Engel to Florida, according to a news release from Cary, N.C., officials. The release noted they were working with the Medical Examiner's Office to confirm that Engel is the man who committed suicide.
Marion County sheriff's detectives said they received a call about Engel shortly before 3 a.m. and the department's SWAT and negotiations teams responded to the Angler's Resort, at 12189 S. Williams St. in Dunnellon, in an effort to speak with Engel about the shooting.
Engel, they said, shot himself in the head with a Glock 19 handgun and died on scene.
At first, Cary police told Marion County detectives they believed Engel might be at a Dunkin' Donuts in Marion County, that they thought he may be suicidal and should be considered armed and dangerous. He was driving a black Jeep Wrangler. Deputies checked various Dunkin Donuts restaurants in the area but didn't find him.
They then received a report from Cary police that Engel was video chatting with a family member, from inside a room at the Angler's Resort. Detectives called the motel to confirm he was there, in Room 3, and that his black Jeep Wrangler was outside.
Marion County officials said they plan on obtaining a search warrant for Engel's belongings and other personal items and await further details from the Cary Police Department.
Engel was hired as a lecturer in August and taught three courses at UNH, said Erika Mantz, the school's director of communications. She said the school will work over this weekend to find a replacement lecturer for his courses.
A University of New Hampshire faculty listing for Engel said he was a 1994 graduate of the University of Virginia and earned a master of arts degree from Purdue in 1999 and a Ph.D from the University of South Florida last year.
According to posted catalog information, Engel was teaching a course in the current semester called Introduction to Language and Social Interaction. The class is described as covering "interpersonal communication processes and the ways in which they influence the formation of identity, personal relationships, gender, interactional patterns, conflict, culture and power."
Engel's doctoral dissertation last year centered on "incivility in the practice of law in Florida" and examined how people in the legal profession can "begin to communicate their way out of the problem."
New Hampshire Union Leader staff reporter Bill Smith contributed to this report.